Former patient now aids his nurse at Doctors Hospital

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Craig Harrison drove Mary Alston to physical therapy Wednesday and helped her walk into the building. Not long ago, the roles were reversed, and it was Alston who was taking care of Harrison in the intensive care unit at Doctors Hospital.

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Craig Harrison jokes with Mary Alston during physical therapy after she was injured in an auto accident.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Craig Harrison jokes with Mary Alston during physical therapy after she was injured in an auto accident.

Harrison is known around the hospital as the “french fry guy” after a freak accident last September when he tore his esophagus trying to cough up a french fry lodged in his throat. He ended up spending 96 days at Doctors, much of it in the ICU, where Alston and fellow ICU nurse Linda Gordon tended to him.

Even if he wasn’t her patient that day, Alston “would be in my room checking on me,” Harrison said. Eventually he was able to recover and head home with fond thoughts of his care from the doctors and nurses.

“You all are my heart,” Harrison said.

On Dec. 16, as Alston was headed to Atlanta to visit her grandchildren, she blew a tire and was hit by an 18-wheel truck and knocked off the road. Rescuers had to cut the roof off her SUV to get her out and then airlift her to Medical College of Georgia Hospital. Alston had so many fractures and broken bones that she sometimes forgets one or two when she lists her injuries.

“She had so many broken bones, each doctor didn’t know where to start,” Gordon said.

Harrison said he got a call from his wife, Carrie, about the accident and went to see Alston the next day. He and Doctors employees such as Gordon have been trying to take care of her needs ever since, making sure she gets to appointments or has a meal and “making sure I have extra stuff,” Alston said.

Harrison “felt he needed to give something back,” Gordon said.

“I just try my best to get her what she needs,” Harrison said, “because that’s what she did for me.”

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REDRIDER 05/23/12 - 04:14 pm
Very Good Story

People caring for others, We need stop and think and thank for a change.

TrulyWorried 05/23/12 - 04:15 pm
Best wishes and God's

Best wishes and God's blessings to one and all. What a moving story!

Tots 05/23/12 - 06:14 pm
What goes around sometimes

What goes around sometimes really does come back around..Alston was a loving and caring nurse that gave more than what her daily job required...By doing so, she touched the heart of Harrison...

My God bless them both always...

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 05/23/12 - 07:44 pm
Great example of giving

Great example of giving forward and giving back. Thanks for reminding us all that we need each other at sometime in our lives. I remember this man, his story, and his sweet wife and mother. Wonderful example for us all. He's not helping in order to do the heroic thing...he's just doing the "right" thing. Mary, we all wish you a speedy recovery!

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 05/23/12 - 09:55 pm
Craig and Mary have the gift of mercy.

Like Craig, a couple of years ago I was at Doctors hospital critically ill, unable to do anything for myself or speak above a whisper. Of all the nurses that attended me, there is one special one that I will never forget. He always knew what I needed without my asking, made an effort to learn what things best comforted me, and never left his shift without coming by to see me. It's people like him, Mary and Craig, that make me completely aware that there really is some Jesus in Jeans & Scrubs on this earth.

Such a lovely story, thanks, Craig and Mary for sharing.

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